Blends as Discourse Markers for Enhancing Students’ Competency of English Vocabulary at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Keywords: Derivations, collocations, Vocabulary Acquisition Model (VAM), vocabulary learning strategies, portmanteaus, blends
This research aims to investigate various vocabulary learning patterns of the Saudi learners majoring in English language at Prince Sattam Abdulaziz University. Studies have revealed that English as first language/English as second language (EFL/ESL) language abilities, which include both reading and writing, are heavily dependent on learners’ vocabulary competency. A common practice in vocabulary learning is decoding and building vocabulary through word recognition and its meaning. However, despite several syntactical and morphological patterns for decoding and practice, some barriers still exist for Saudi learners in decoding their meaning accurately and cohesively. This research is based on investigating how the acquisition of blends can happen, and how it can be used comfortably as discourse markers. A blend (also termed a portmanteau) is not linguistic jargon, though its construction looks uncommon or abnormal. It is a type of lexical item in which the beginning of one word is combined with the final part of another word – for example, ‘brunch’ is a combination of ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’, and ‘smog’ comes from ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’. This study has also attempted to segment portmanteaus according to their affixes and roots or morphemes, which could be seen as a theoretical and methodological contribution to the study of psycholinguistics. This study recommends a Vocabulary Acquisition Model (VAM) for vocabulary instructors to teach blends or portmanteaus.